Saturday, July 05, 2008

You're Either For False Reporting Or You're Against It

Pet peeve: Ignorant and/or drama queen liberals in the media misrepresenting George Bush's words to reinforce their delusions of his evilness and their own righteous victimhood.

Case study: Former Star Tribune editorial writer Steve Berg, now employed at the liberal web site MinnPost. He included this observation in his musings on patriotism for July 4:

[George W. Bush] picked up the theme in 2002-03 by suggesting that if you were against attacking and occupying Iraq you weren't a very good American. Either you're for us or you're against us, he said, which led to the idea that someone not wearing a flag lapel pin or not displaying a "Support the Troops" bumper sticker was suspect.

This notion that George Bush questioned the patriotism of those opposing the invasion of Iraq by saying "either you're for us or you're against" has been floating around in the cesspools of righteous dissent for quite some time. In fact, when it was brandished by Ted Turner at a National Press Club Speech it earned him the honor of Loon of the Week for October 15, 2006.

Even that stinging rebuke wasn't enough to stop the use of this false assertion in the popular media.

Editors of the world, please take note, the historical record shows that George Bush used such terminology in only one context. It was a warning to other nations that they would be held accountable for providing material support or sanctuary (active or passive) for terrorist organizations threatening America with acts of mass destruction. It was a necessary statement that this new enemy operating outside the norms of the nation-state would not be immune from the standards of deterrence and retaliation. There would be no safe haven based on the plausible deniability of their hosts alone.

Now those magic words, in their appropriate context. From George Bush's address to Congress on September 20, 2001:

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Another example, during the Q&A portion of a joint press conference with French President Jacques Chirac on November 6, 2001:

Q. Mr. President, you said this morning that you wanted more than sympathy or words from other countries. What nations were you specifically talking about, and what do you want from them?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I am going to the United Nations to give a speech on Saturday. And I am going to praise those nations who have joined our coalition. But a coalition partner must do more than just express sympathy; a coalition partner must perform. And our coalition partner here has performed; we work together.

And that means different things for different nations. Some nations don't want to contribute troops, and we understand that. Other nations can contribute intelligence-sharing, and for that we're grateful. But all nations, if they want to fight terror, must do something. It is time for action. And that's going to be the message of my speech at the United Nations.

I have no specific nation in mind, at least as I stand here now. Everybody ought to be given the benefit of the doubt. But over time, it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You are either with us or you are against us in the fight against terror. And that's going to be part of my speech at the United Nations.

Contrary to Berg's assertions, there is no record of anything George Bush said approximating: "if you were against attacking and occupying Iraq you weren't a very good American. Either you're for us or you're against us, he said"

As far as I can discern, there are zero news reports testifying to this. Even the other leftist blogs and web sites take the MiinnPost style and just use it as a paraphrase of common knowledge.

On the other hand, you can find George Bush saying things like this about Iraq war critics:

One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war. When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it.

Liberals of MinnPost and elsewhere, please remove this canard from your reasons to hate George Bush. Go back to using the other canards until they are removed, as opportunities warrant.

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